Dear Abby: Our daughter’s boyfriend is in prison, and that worries us

The man was a high school acquaintance, and they call and visit often.

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DEAR ABBY: We have a close family, and we have helped our children with the down payments on their homes. My daughter has a master’s degree, is a professional with a good job and owns her own home. She has been corresponding with and visiting a high school acquaintance who has been in prison for the past three years. She doesn’t see anyone else, and refers to this person as her boyfriend. She is on the phone with him often because he constantly calls her asking her what she’s doing.

My daughter is a nice person. She has many friends and always has a smile on her face. Before her involvement with this man, she was very outgoing. People often comment on how lucky we are to have such a loving, nice daughter. She is now visiting his family. Should we feel as scared for her as we do? — FEARFUL IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR FEARFUL: You wouldn’t be typical parents if you weren’t concerned. Have you talked to your daughter about this? Do you know what her “boyfriend” is in prison for? Has she been giving him money? What are his plans for after he’s released?

Women become involved with incarcerated men for many reasons. Some do it because they are lonely or need to feel needed. Others do it because they feel that in a relationship where their love object is locked up, he can’t cheat on her. (That last one is a mistake because felons have been known to use multiple women to feed their prison bank accounts, and they sometimes trade suggestions with each other about how to do it more effectively.)

While you have a right to be worried, you cannot live your daughter’s life for her. Her old school chum may turn out to be a prince — but you won’t know until they let him out.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a retired woman who got a part-time job in a small town. It’s a highly regarded business with fewer than 20 employees. In the past, I have worked for companies that valued employee input.

I was just fired because my boss thought I was telling her how to do her job. Although it was a month ago, I replay my actions daily. I feel like I was fired for doing something for which, in the past, I was rewarded. How do I get past this? I really don’t want another job. I loved that one. — CAN’T SLEEP IN THE EAST

DEAR CAN’T SLEEP: You WERE fired for doing something for which you were rewarded in the past. Did your employer give you any indication that your input was annoying her? She should have, so you could curtail the impulse. She may have found your attempts to be helpful annoying, but if that was the case — and she was an effective manager — she should have communicated that to you.

Consider contacting her once more to tell her how much you loved working there and explain your reasons for speaking up the way you did. However, if that doesn’t help, understand that personalities don’t always mesh. If you won’t be given a second chance, consider putting your skills and experience to work by volunteering for an organization in your community that will value what you have to offer.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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